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With Parley kit releases delayed, here are two Philadelphia Union options

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Far from the most important, but one of the many things we are deprived of in a time without MLS.

I miss soccer. Obviously. It’s felt so long since we’ve had soccer to consume that I have forgotten some of the smaller joys it brings. At the moment, I just want the return of the existence of soccer as a whole, but thinking about the more minute details remind me about the little things that get the soccer nerd in us all going. Most consume details such as transfer rumors, team or player comparisons, and other more intellectual details. For me, I love getting lost in the details of soccer jerseys.

Every mid-February, or so, feels like a holiday for me because that is when all the new MLS jerseys for the year get released. Typical debates ensue about the Adidas monopoly and certain uninspiring kits. It can get frustrating to hear the same, mostly valid, arguments each year but I still love it.

One of the smaller things we are losing from this suspension of soccer is some of these discussions. Not necessarily about the team’s new kits since they are already released (although the Union have yet to have the chance to play in their new primaries this year) but the addition of specialty kits. MLS over the past few years have upped their game in this category, adding more and more unique warm-up tops for special weeks throughout the season such as Pride Week, Military Appreciation, Fourth of July and their big initiative to “Kick Childhood Cancer.”

One of the bigger specialty kits that we will miss out on this year are the Parley kits, and that’s where I come in. Over the past few years, MLS and Adidas have partnered with Parley For the Oceans, an organization focused on ocean preservation. On the game week that falls on Earth Day, all MLS teams play their respective matches in kits made out of recycled materials born out of the partnership of Adidas and Parley.

Each year there are two options that each team will get, a lighter version and a darker one. The first year, 2017, only a handful of teams got the kits and they were a mixture of different grays where the two versions looked too similar when the teams wore them in the matches. In 2018, where all teams participated, the designs took a complete opposite approach where each team either wore an all black kit with white details or the reversal of that. The Union wore the white versions when they traveled to Dallas who wore the all black.

Last year was the most well received Parley kit designs so far. A similar approach to the 2018 kits but rather than the white and black, the white was replaced with a really nice seafoam/teal color. These versions were the most successful and sold out very quickly for most teams. The Union’s version, the lighter “seafoam” color, sold out within a day. I remember putting the jersey in my cart the night it was released, hesitating about buying it, and then seeing it was sold out by the morning when I decided I wanted to pull the trigger.

Finally, since we aren’t able to get these this year due to the pandemic, I decided to give it a shot and share what the Parley kits could look like this year if they had the chance to play them.

I assume these were already made since kit designs and production is done well in advance of their release so maybe we’ll get to see the real things for 2020 in some capacity. Nonetheless, I wanted to give my own take on them because I enjoy this stuff so much. I made both dark and light versions of a Union version of the Parley kits, even though the Union have only played in the lighter versions so far. With this design, I wanted to add a texture that resembles ocean water and “seafoam” in more than just the color. The texture goes into the sleeves as well to add some interest to the kits.

Missing out on kits like these this year is far from the worst thing about not having MLS in our lives at the moment, but this was a reminder to me that there was more about the game that I missed than the actual games.